A few years ago Rick Schwartz had a corner on the market for domain conferences. The self-proclaimed “domain king” was so upset when the people at Domain Roundtable organized a conference that he quickly organized a competing conference on the same dates. Domain Roundtable was a success anyway, and attracted a more diverse audience than Schwartz’s T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference. Schwartz is cutting back to two conferences for 2009, and there are three competing conferences that may be even more interesting to attend. (They are also more affordable.)
- DomainFEST Global is in late January in Hollywood, California. DomainSponsor hosts this event but invites other domain monetization companies to attend. Steve Wozniak is the keynote speaker and there is a one day domainer bootcamp for people new to domain ownership. The event wraps up with a charity benefit at the Playboy Mansion. Past reviews have been very positive, and this will be my first time attending.
- Domainer Mardi Gras is held in late February in New Orleans, Louisiana. This is the first time for this conference, which is sponsored by Modern Domainer magazine and Parked.com. This is a first-time conference, so the jury is still out. The sponsors are some of the strongest and most ethical players in the domain space, however, and they are likely to host a great event.
- Domain Rountable moves to Washington DC in June. This was the original competitor to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. and it continues to be a very strong conference. If there is ever a conflict between T.R.A.F.F.I.C. and Domain Roundtable again, I would recommend choosing Domain Roundtable. There have been some personnel issues after past conferences, but the Thought Convergence takeover of Domain Tools should strengthen this conference.
Rick has certainly done a lot for domainers; but his personality can be hard to take, and the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences have often been long on B.S. and short on content. They are a great way to network and rub shoulders with leaders in the domain industry, but consider these three alternatives if you also want to learn something.